Selflessness and Emptiness
Nothing, that which is worthless. It is sunyata. It is empty of worth, meaning. All grasped at and craved phenomena are sunyata, worthless.
The soul, self, I, is not permanent because its bases are impermanent. Vaibashika.
All persons and objects lack self or selfhood. Where self here means actual, outstanding self, independent of all around it; part of the world, but existing in a different individual causation continuum. Spawned or PRODUCED from a previous continuum or creator (who can be human).
This self has to be shown to be dependent on parts and causes and conditions. Thus not independent continua but part of one, illusory-like appearance continuum of continuous, spontaneous causes and created moment to moment. Hence the Prasangika view on subtle impermanence. Not distinguishable from one moment to another, but a play, or sea, of continuous causes. Thus Buddhahood ‘writes’ this script from the nature of the spontaneous now. This is buddhahood, the Tathagata that ‘writes’ or ‘produces’ all things. Not a person, not a god, but a potential of all. More than a person, a deity – a whole, (definitive). Now, we arrive at the Shentong (and the Tantra) from the Prasangika in a natural progression.
If something exists it exists as a part of the great continuum (all causes, all existence, the play of buddhanature) or as independent nature. This latter is denied by the Prasangika as false. The former is realised as conventional nature.
This existence (profound path) does not differ in any way from the Mahayana (method path) realised experience. Thus Tsongkhapa’s view that there should be a union of the two schools may be seen as an indistinguishability of result, method from profundity.
Now, in both, the ultimate is the creative buddha potential. Dharmakhaya, Dharmadhatu and Tathagarbha are seen as synonyms from this realised point of view. The conventional is the manifest appearance of cause, karma, joy, or dependence-related mind and cause.
These cannot be separated anymore than the motion of water can be separated from water or the play of light through that water can be separated from its motion.
This does not include archetypes, the idea that forms already exist in some way that can affect the play of manifestation. For the nature of buddhanature is ultimately unknowable in that it cannot be described and exists as a base for the mind; a base that cannot be separated, or distinguished, from the play of appearances itself.
Absorbtion of the self into the ultimate tathagarbha is the gone, the tathagata. The existence of the body in the play, the wisdom, is the nirmanakaya – the gone; gone into the immediate being of existing. The joy arising is the sambhogakaya, the union of self and existence. The all, the whole, all three is the svabhavikakaya (the entire nature, buddhahood).
The Mahayana (method) arrives at this through merit, purity and blessings. The profound arrives at this through the contemplation above. In the first, it is the mind seeing non-existence in the play of form. In the second it is the realisation of seeing the space of existence. Therefore by concentrating on the conditional the Mahayana method finds the delightful existence of non-existence, dependent-related mind phenomena. And the profound, by concentrating on the non-existence, the emptiness of space or things, – uttermost selflessness of the most subtle, finds its glorious existence of nonindependent-related phenomena, the play of existence. That which it looked at, the ultimate, is the buddhanature, and is not found separate from the play of existence. Thus the madhyamaka prasangika dwells finally in existence and the Mahayana Cittamatra first finds the ultimate, the emptiness of wisdom, in phenomena; phenomena utterly non-independent of the mind, and finally dwells in the tathagarbha, the union of the divine.